Today, I did something that I have wanted to do for a long time; I deleted every single picture that resembled my past self. I felt I had to do this because each time I saw a picture of my past self, dysphoria would be triggered and I would begin getting flashbacks of ”the past”. That would trigger a lot of anxieties and I would psychologically morph back into the past, which then triggers more anxieties…
Allow me to explain what dysphoria is in terms of my dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is when a person experiences and feels like the opposite sex as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. In these cases, the assigned sex and gender do not match the person’s gender identity, and the person is transgender. That is the basic low-down about it.
I don’t consider myself to have any kind of mental disorder or any kind of psychological dismemberment that society wants to label me with. I dislike the face that people say that about trans people. Yes, we go through A LOT of psychological assessments before gaining consent for hormones and surgery, that is just so doctors etc can see that we understand and have a clear mind, not because we are ”crazy”.
At my clinic sometime last year, there was a huge hoo-ha about putting the clinic in a psychiatric area of a hospital. And, by no surprise, everyone kicked off a fuss about it because we feel that we are not subjects of disorder, but simply human beings who want to be our true selves, and that we are. We are just human beings who want to be free in our own bodies without the insufferable condemnation of dysphoria.
Let me tell you what dysphoria is like, I mean the real version, not the media-based bullcrap version…
When I was around 8 years old, I knew I was different, I knew my body didn’t match my mind. Whenever I was given a barbie doll, I would rip the head off it and play with my brother’s action men instead. When I was given a doll, I would cut it’s hair off. I didn’t understand things back then, but as I grew older, I began to understand myself more. Sexuality was always a struggle with me, I never really knew what my sexuality was, so I decided that I was bisexual because that was the easy answer. Trying to please everyone and ‘fit in” at school, I tried every single phase you could think off. When I was 16, I came out as being lesbian, because at that time, I was becoming more attracted to females, and I liked it, it fitted with who I was. I was/am attracted to females. So, I was happy to go along with that. I cut my hair short, and took on the more ”butch” role of being a lesbian, I liked that I was acting like a guy, I liked wearing guy clothes and I liked that I had a masculine persona about me. I used to draw what it would be like to have facial hair with eyeliner, I liked that too. I did this in secret for a long time because I was still trying to figure things out.
I was around 18 at the time, I was surfing the web and searching about gender dysphoria and what it means. My heart sank to the pit of my stomach, reality struck me like big truck, the sudden realisation has happened at last, finally, everything made perfect sense….I was/am a guy, trapped in the wrong body. This body wasn’t mine, it was someone else’s. I spent months researching how to become a guy. I found a clinic in exeter that made me think ”This is my calling, this is my saviour”.
I was living in a shared house at the time with some friends. And I made the referral with the doctor who said, and I quote ”Within 30 years of my practice as a doctor, I have never heard of this, only in america and that is expensive.”….*Slams information about clinic on the table* He looks at me in shock and goes ”Wow, you’ve certainly done your research”. Tongue in cheek, I request a referral.
At this time waiting times were 3-6 weeks. Today, you are looking at 12-18 months to get your first appointment at a gender clinic. In the past 4 years, referrals have quadrupled. What was 200 on the waiting list, is more like 800-1000.
So, I eagerly wait for that appointment letter…
3 weeks later, on a friday, I get my appointment through to see one of the therapists. Finally, things were starting for me.
So, 2011, I have my first appointment and I was terrified, anxious and down-right petrified to be honest. I couldn’t breath and I became an emotional wreck. So I took 18 months out to get my anxieties under control.
March 2013, I begin my transition and haven’t looked back since and NEVER WILL…I knew the time was right for me to transition.
I could write for hours and hours about everything, and maybe in little skits, I will write about it when I feel like it. So I will end this little write-up with this….
Transition saved me, in ways I cannot explain. It saved my sanity, it saved me from a lot of anxieties, my self-harm (5 YEARS since I ever did anything like that), my drinks and drugs blow out (yes, I did that, don’t judge me, you have no idea what I was feeling, or who I was, I wanted to numb it all and escape reality), that was a very dark moment that I soon got away from, and I am glad. I am not ashamed to admit my mistakes, I am human, nobody is perfect.
I am thankful for my clinic for helping me become who I am, and who I have always been. I am thankful for my therapist for making me realise that it is okay to say how you feel, that it is okay to feel certain emotions sometimes. Me and emotions are a hit and miss, but I am working on it, I am a lot better expressing myself than I was years ago. You wouldn’t get me writing all of this for one. I am thankful for my clinic doctor for prescribing me Testosterone because without that, I wouldn’t be who I am today, I wouldn’t know myself at all. I am thankful for Dr Andrew Yelland, the god of chest surgery, the man who gave me the chest that was always there. You sir, are a legend of a man who I owe so much to.
I am thankful for Dr Hodgson for allowing me to have my lower surgery, and for seeing that I am able to make powerful decisions, that, to be honest, scared the crap out of me.
I have a lot to be thankful for…….
If it wasn’t for the London team, I wouldn’t be as confident as I am today, I wouldn’t feel like myself…I remember when I was called for first stage surgery in the hospital…”Mr Lewis, we are ready for you now”..So full of excitement, nerves and all the above. I walked through the corridor to the elevator, the theatre technician walked me to theatre. The elevator went down and I was getting nerves like never before. I see white corridors, I see clinical staff everywhere. She opened the door to the prep room. BOOM….BOOM BOOM BOOM…Tears came down my eyes quicker than a water fall. I felt so many emotions, in that moment, I felt emotions like never before. I saw the theatre room, and that was went I broke down and the theatre technician held my hand until I was put under. 10 hours later, I am me, finally, I am me, I had the right genitals, it didn’t look ”weird” anymore, it looked normal. That emotion stuck with me for a long, long time. And every now and then, I remember it when I listen to my transition song (it’s top secret), that is when I feel those emotions again.
Any ways, I have rambled on for longer than I expected to…..
Stay tuned for more journal updates